Poems of the Masters

Poems of the Masters

China's Classic Anthology of T'ang and Sung Dynasty Verse

Book - 2003
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'The' classic Chinese poetry anthology in a handsome English-Chinese format. Poetry is China's greatest art, and for the past eight centuries 'Poems of the Masters' has been that country's most studied and memorized collection of verse. For the first time ever in English, here is the complete text, with an introduction and extensive notes by renowned translator, Red Pine. Over one hundred poets are represented in this bilingual edition, including many of China's celebrated poets: Li Pai, Wang Wei, Tu Fu, Wang Po, and Ou-yang Hsiu. 'Poems of the Masters' was compiled during the Sung dynasty (960-1278), a time when poetry became the defining measure of human relationships and understanding.As Red Pine writes in his introduction: "Nothing was significant without a poem, no social or ritual occasion, no political or personal event was considered complete without a few well-chosen words that summarized the complexities of the Chinese vision of reality and linked that visionwith the beat of their hearts . . . [Poetry's] greatest flowering was in the T'ang and Sung, when suddenly it was everywhere: in the palace, in the street, in every household, every inn, every monastery, in every village square." "Chiupu River Song" by Li Pai My white hair extends three milesthe sorrow of parting made it this longwho would guess to look in a mirrorwhere autumn frost comes from"This valuable text will help us appreciate the richness of poetic imagination and experience."-- 'Book Magazine,' five-star review"[ 'Poems of the Masters' ] includes the Chinese originals, along with commentaries on imagery, various social conventions, historical background--all absolutely essential to a full appreciation of the texts... the best way to approach them is to pick one out and let it drop like a pebble into the well of your mind and hear how it resonates."-- 'The Philadelphia Inquirer' "The poems in this remarkable anthology speak to us--across an immense distance of time andspace--of loneliness, beauty, the consequences of political action, the stillness of autumn. Red Pine's wonderful translations and the clarity of his accompanying notes make these poems accessible and intimate to all of us...Red Pine and the good people at Copper Canyon deserve a place in the Taoist paradise for bringing us this beautiful book."-- 'Booksense Recommends' Red Pine is one of the world's most respected translators of Chinese literature, bringing into English several of China's centralreligious and literary texts, including 'Lao-tzu's Taoteching' (isbn 9781556592904) and 'The Collected Songs of Cold Mountain' (isbn 9781556591402).
Publisher: Port Townsend, WA : Copper Canyon Press, c2003
ISBN: 9781556591952
Branch Call Number: ANF 895.11
Characteristics: xx, 474 p. : map ; 23 cm
Additional Contributors: Pine, Red


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Jul 03, 2017

This is a translation of the classic collection of 224 poems called Chienchiashih or Poems of a Thousand Masters - the translator chose to drop the "Thousand" in deference to his more literal-minded modern audience. The collection, compiled in the 13th century, consists of short poems in four different standard forms. As suggested by the fact that the reputation of the anthology has endured for eight centuries, many of the poems are masterpieces, although a few were included for personal reasons or as exemplars of form, which makes them especially disappointing in translation.

Each poem receives a critically important paragraph of commentary to describe the author and context. The vast majority of these poems were written by courtiers and concentrate on their concerns, with themes of exile, of virtue unrewarded or even punished, and the difficulty of finding peace in a world of troubles dominant. Anyone who loves poetry should read this book.

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